April 24, 2022 - 9 min read
Web3 is the next generation of the internet. Web1 was defined by the beginning of the mass distribution of personal computers, search engines, and the proliferation of websites, while Web2 has been defined by the proliferation of major social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok.
While the true definition of Web3 is still up for debate, it’s often defined as an interconnected network of decentralized blockchains that will provide a wide new range of user experiences, with user-generated content and content monetization at its core, strongly facilitated by the use of cryptocurrency.
In this list, we’ll look at some of the most interesting Web3 companies making an impact on the industry today. We won’t include some of the largest companies, such as crypto exchanges like Coinbase, FTX, or Binance, or any of the major blockchains, since their impact is somewhat obvious.
Instead, we’ll focus on slightly more niche (yet still somewhat popular) firms that are making an outsized impact on the Web3 sector and are likely to grow quickly in the coming months and years.
Brave Browser may not seem like a revolutionary company, but it certainly has had an outsized impact on the Web3 sector. Brave Browser is perhaps the first major browser to adopt full Web3 integration. The browser allows users to natively connect dApps without the use of any outside browser extensions. Users can access most of the 30,000 decentralized websites on the internet, including websites with the increasingly popular .crypto and .eth domain extensions.
Brave has also partnered with blockchain domain company Unstoppable Domains to allow browser users access to the 700,000 blockchain domain names registered by the company. Brave is also the first browser to have a crypto wallet built directly into the browser, which permits easy crypto purchases with fiat currency and multi-chain swaps.
Currently, the world of video games is highly fragmented. Until recently, users were not able to extract nearly any real-world value from in-game assets or currencies. While this has changed significantly with the introduction of games such as Axie Infinity and metaverses such as Decentraland and Sandbox, which have their own tokens convertible to fiat currencies and unique NFTs that can be transferred across wallets, barriers still remain.
In the last year, there has been an increased proliferation in crypto and blockchain gaming guilds, which often operate as DAOs that can pool digital assets together to invest in assets in multiple games and multiple cryptocurrencies. It’s expected that, as gaming guilds grow, they will increase the power of gamers relative to game creators and studios, and will be able to increasingly influence the development and economics of the games the individual members play. For example, guilds will also be able to “walk with their feet” and transfer large amounts of assets from one game to another if they feel the game’s management is not providing a fair or quality gaming experience to players.
That’s where GuildFi comes in. GuildFi is a quickly growing Web3 platform designed to connect gamers, games, and investors together, which can help further empower both individual gamers and guilds and allow easier swapping of assets across games and blockchains. In addition to facilitating crypto transfers in a variety of currencies, GuildFi also has its own token (GF), which, as of Q2 2022, had a market cap of more than $20 million.
Chainanalysis is somewhat different from most of the other companies on this list, as it’s mainly a consulting, data, and software firm which provides services to other companies and individuals in the crypto and Web3 space. Among other products and services, Chainanalysis offers a software-as-a-service product called Reactor, which helps crypto fraud investigations by connecting cryptocurrency transactions to real-world entities. The service is advertised as particularly effective at tracking flash loans and NFT theft.
Chainanalysis also provides in-depth cryptocurrency market intelligence by monitoring the crypto activity of thousands of businesses and compiling real-time market reports. In addition, the company offers professional crypto security and investigation services through a team of blockchain forensics experts. As crypto hacks and thefts abound, these types of services are likely to only grow more popular in the coming months and years.
MakerDAO is the world’s largest crypto lending credit facility that provides loans at predetermined interest rates, and while it may be well-known, its outsized impact makes it an important candidate for this list.
MakerDAO is nearly fully decentralized, with distributed teams across the world competing for funds to execute projects that will help improve the project’s usability, security, and efficiency while adding new and useful features for users. Users can borrow by depositing ETH into a MakerDAO smart contract, which creates a Collateralized Debt Position (CDP). MakerDAO then lends the user DAI, Maker’s native stablecoin which is intended to track the dollar as closely as possible.
Perhaps the most interesting part about MakerDAO is its recent foray into the world of financing real-world assets. In March 2022, 6s Capital, a commercial lender powered by MakerDAO, financed $7.8 million of real estate to fund a new Tesla repair and collision shop. According to MakerDAO, this is just the first example of the DAOs attempts to fund real-world assets with partially collateralized loans. After integrating with asset financing protocol Centrifuge in 2021, MakerDAOs originators can borrow DAI against non-crypto collateral, including mortgages, real estate, and business invoices.
Like the internet itself, the crypto exchange industry has developed in various stages or generations. The first stage involved centralized, custodial crypto exchanges, where the owners of the exchange held full control over the exchange’s operations. The second stage involved the creation of large decentralized exchanges, which were non-custodial, but governance was mainly centralized. It seems that we’re now entering the third era of crypto exchanges, in which small teams can build their own decentralized exchanges to suit their own needs and purposes, with some of these exchanges themselves potentially operating as DAOs, though this has yet to be seen.
This third generation of crypto exchanges is exactly where 0X comes in. The 0X protocol is not, by itself, a decentralized exchange, as it does not store trade orders on the blockchain, but instead, provides the infrastructure for individuals and groups to create their own decentralized exchanges on the Ethereum blockchain. In essence, the 0X protocol consists of a messaging standard paired with a group of smart contracts that facilitate the peer-to-peer exchange of assets, which provide the needed logic for generating, sending, receiving, and processing data linked to the trading activity of digital assets.
Some of the applications built with 0X include Nuo, ParaDEX, Zerion, bZx, OpenRelay, 0x Instant, DeFi Saver, and Radar Relay.
0X has a native governance token, the 0X token (ZRX), which, as of Q2 2022, had a market capitalization of more than $350 million.
Ethereum is by and large the largest practical blockchain for the development of dApps, Web3 applications, and metaverse projects alike. However, the Ethereum mainnet has a variety of significant limitations, including slow transaction speeds, high transaction costs, and storage space limitations. This is why a proliferation of Layer-2s and scaling services have sprung up over the past few years. The most famous Layer-2s include Polygon, Arbitrum, ParaState, Optimism, xDai Stable Chain, while other well-known Layer-2s include Skale, Cartesi, ZKSwap, and OMG Network, but even these Layer-2s have their own limitations.
This is where Alchemy comes in. Alchemy is a powerful infrastructure solution that works with both the Ethereum mainnet and Layer-2s like Polygon in order to help developers build faster, more secure, and more efficient dApps. According to the Alchemy website “Alchemy Supernode is the most widely used blockchain API for Ethereum, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, Flow, and Crypto.org.”
Alchemy has been utilized to help build some of the best-known blockchain games and NFT marketplaces in the industry, including Axie Infinity, the NBA Top Shot marketplace, and OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace on the market today.
Experts have compared Alchemy to Amazon Web Services (AWS), perhaps the world’s largest enterprise cloud computing and web hosting service, due to its track record of providing powerful behind-the-scenes infrastructure to some of the biggest names in blockchain.
In February 2022, Alchemy raised an additional $200 million in venture capital with a proposed valuation of $10.2 billion, significantly up from the proposed $3.5 billion valuation the firm announced in October 2021.
LexDAO is perhaps the largest project attempting to streamline the world of legal services with highly-efficient smart contracts for standardized legal transactions. While it’s not a lawyer or law firm, the decentralized organization is focused on building basic tools that ordinary people can use either in concert or in lieu of legal services. The organization, which is not technically a company, has a particular focus on helping people understand legal regulations in areas such as computer science, smart contracts, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies.
One major product is the organization’s LexLocker, a highly-efficient escrow service that allows users to hold deposits while goods or services are delivered, eliminating the need for a bank or third-party escrow provider. LexDAO also provides a decentralized arbitration service that provides decisions via a multi-sig panel of LexDAO legal experts.
In the future, decentralized service providers like LexDAO may increasingly supplant traditional legal services, particularly for basic transactions like business and employment contracts, and even for higher-value transactions, such as real estate transactions, though it should be noted that there are already a variety of companies specifically offering blockchain-based real estate escrow and closing services.
While some have lauded blockchain technology for providing individuals with increased privacy, others have voiced concerns that due to the immutable nature of public ledgers, blockchain transactions are actually less private than traditional financial and legal transactions– and that the technology is actually a significant threat to user privacy.
However, some projects are making an effort to address this issue head-on. One notable blockchain privacy project is the Secret Network. The Secret Network is a decentralized network of individual nodes which supports encrypted inputs, encrypted outputs, and encrypted states for smart contracts. Users can use a specialized private viewing key to access their encrypted data, which they can share with third parties like auditors or wallets, giving users significantly more control over their data than on major blockchains like the Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchain, where all wallet addresses are publicly accessible.
Unlike other public blockchains, each node on the Secret Network utilizes trusted execution environments (TEEs) for private encryption and computation. A trusted execution environment (TEE) is defined as a secure area of a processor that guarantees the confidentiality of the code and the data inside.
Social.network is an upcoming web3 project funded and created by Earth DAO. The fully decentralized network, built on Ethereum, allows users to fully “own their data and assets via earth wallet, a self-custody, open-source browser wallet similar to Metamask but supports the Internet Computer and Bitcoin networks.”
While little is known about the project so far, it seems to be a promising player in the quickly growing Web3 social media space.
Deefy is a unique company revolutionizing the financialization of NFTs. Users can get instant loans on their NFTs without collateral. Options include mortgage NFTs, renting them out to other users, and “buy now, pay later” options to allow users to buy NFTs with no money down. Deefy acts as an escrow service between borrowers and lenders and helps establish a floor price for rare and valuable NFTs.
Deefy also allows users to develop a specialized global credit score which allows them to access more and better financing for their NFTs.
Disclaimer: SupraOracles currently has partnerships with some of the companies referenced in this article, including GuildFi and Secret Network.
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